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EU Benefits Science

Mairead McGuinness833 views

So far, 588 projects with Irish participation have secured over €250 million in funding from Horizon 2020, the European Union’s programme for Research and Innovation.

Ireland has set an ambitious, but achievable, target of winning up to €1.25 billion under the Horizon 2020 fund, which runs until 2020 with a total budget of almost €75 billion.

Projects linked to the higher education system in Ireland account for €157 million of the funding secured to date, while companies based in Ireland have won €72 million in the first two years of the programme.

Ireland is renowned for its high-tech; innovative and highly respected science sector, so it is no surprise that those capable professionals are meeting EU aspirations under with Horizon 2020.

Thanks to the new “SME instrument”, Horizon 2020 also has specific funding dedicated to small and medium sized businesses. It means SMEs can be supported from the early stages of developing a new business concept onwards. SMEs can apply for Horizon 2020 funding if their project falls under the categories related to clean and efficient energy, health, ICT and even advanced manufacturing.

Enterprise Ireland is supporting those who wish to bid for funding under the scheme and any interested researchers, scientists and even SMEs can find out more information via this dedicated website: www.horizon2020.ie

I would encourage all those involved in any kind of R&D, science and health research to investigate the opportunities available under Horizon 2020.

UK referendum

EU funding supports for innovation is just one of the many major benefits of EU membership – one which has clearly been recognised by European scientists.

Ahead of the UK’s June referendum on EU membership, a recent poll of almost 2,000 researchers in Britain and Europe by the international weekly science journal, Nature, showed that researchers feel EU membership is beneficial for science.

Of the 907 researchers working in the UK who were polled, 83 percent said that they wanted the UK to stay in the EU, while just 12pc were in favour of an exit or a so-called “Brexit”. When only the 666 UK researchers who plan to vote in the referendum were included, the figures altered ever so slightly to 80pc and 14pc.

Of those who intend to vote in the referendum, 78pc said they believed a Brexit would harm the UK’s science sector, while 9pc said that it would be beneficial.

European scientists and researchers surveyed outside the UK, who do not have a vote in the upcoming referendum, had a similar reaction. Of these 954 individuals, 77pc said they want the UK to stay in the EU – 17pc said they favoured an exit.

Poll responses were obtained via e-mail and online surveys for Nature – further information is available here: http://www.nature.com/news/scientists-say-no-to-uk-exit-from-europe-in-nature-poll-1.19636#/poll